Yesterday was so busy that I didn't make time to reflect or post. But the power is off again and here I sit with candles and Dog Face and some anxiety. This is day two of my first sandstorm. I liked the novelty of the sandstorm, a cool first experience, but it caused an 11 hour delay in my flight for a conference I have to attend. So stressful, I so wanted a whisky as I searched the web and called airlines to try to figure shit out. Instead I ate ice cream and peanut butter, using pieces of dark chocolate as a spoon. Sober indulgences! And now I have a stomach ache. But I did luck out and get travel things sorted before the power went out.
As for the title of today's post. In Brussels I will meet up with some old teacher friends who are big party people. I made plans to meet up with them before I stopped drinking, and now I feel a bit out of sorts. I want to see them, maybe for dinner, but after that I know it won't be fun to be around them and dangerous for me. And how to tell them I'm not drinking. Should I be casual? "I'm not drinking now...health stuff" and let the questions come and not dampen their party mood? Or be straight up and say, "I stopped drinking so I'll just be joining you for dinner" or say nothing and keep ordering club sodas? Can I even muster the phrase, "I don't drink anymore." That is conclusive. I can barely say that to myself, this past tense of drinking. I don't know, I don't know, I don't know.
I'm also traveling with a colleague, when we go out to dinner and she wants wine, do I say I'm a non-drinker (another version of I don't drink anymore)? Just say none for me tonight? I don't know how much to reveal and how to just act natural. Not every one drinks with every meal, it is not strange, it is not strange. IT IS NOT STRANGE. It is strange for me, at 38, to not have drink with dinner.
Then I think about the new people I will meet in the future, what will I tell them? And then a thought crossed my mind and I heard myself say, "I used to be a lot of fun when I drank, but don't any more." Am I mentally preparing for apologizing for not drinking anymore?!?! Ugh! Gross! See? One of many problems I have with my drinking is I still associate it with enjoying life, being a adventurous, liberated woman who is not square (very important). Emotionally, I feel I'm loosing those things about myself by not drinking. I'm cutting my association the crowd I find attractive and have felt accepted by, I'm isolating myself from my community and being boring. Sigh, I caught a glimpse of my 16-year mindset (just want to be cool...I'm a rebel....fuck [fill-in-the-blank]), That mindset will take a lot of convincing that I am a non-drinker AND I'm fun and I'm still me. And above all that I'm lovable as is.
I used to drink with the best of them, but I don't anymore. I like myself better for it and have a full life because of it.
-Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp